China’s Niu (NIU) reported a surge in electric scooter sales for the first quarter, which lapped last year’s pandemic-hit Q1, and announced a slate of new products. Niu stock rose.
Q1 sales volume vaulted 273% to 149,649 e-scooters, Niu said. In the year-ago quarter, Niu’s e-scooter sales volume had dived 39% amid the coronavirus outbreak. But sequentially, the Q1 2021 sales volume was down from 150,465 in Q4 2020.
In the latest quarter, sales fell 15% in international markets but jumped 322% on an annual basis in China on the back of demand for a new, lower-cost Go model, and a store expansion spree. But higher Go sales will negatively impact revenue and margins in Q1, Niu warned.
Last month, Niu forecast Q1 revenue growth of 80%-105% and sales volume for full-year 2021 to increase 50%-83%.
Niu sells sit-down scooters as opposed to small, stand-up scooters from the likes of Bird. They tap the urban transportation or “micro mobility” market, including ride-sharing operators.
On Tuesday, Niu also launched four new vehicles for the Chinese market, including an electric bicycle and electric motorcycle, and its first “kick scooter,” or stand-up scooter, for international markets. It will start selling the kick scooters in the second half of 2021.
Shares rose 3.1% to 37.78 in Monday stock market trading. Niu stock must get back above the 50-day line before a new pattern or buy point can emerge, according MarketSmith chart analysis. The relative strength line, which compares a stock’s performance with the S&P 500, for Niu stock has fallen after a sharp rally for most of 2020.
Uber and Lyft make e-scooters available to ride-sharing riders through their mobile apps. But Uber offloaded Jump, its money-losing bike and scooter business, to Lime in May. Similarly, Lyft ended electric scooter operations in a few U.S. cities last year, due to a sharp decline in usage during the pandemic.
Unlike many EV startups, Niu is a profitable company. It turned an annual profit on an adjusted per-share basis for the first time in 2019.
On March 7, Niu delivered an 11-cent per-ADS profit for the fourth quarter, nearly double estimates.
The hype around EV micromobility startups has subsided significantly since 2018. As startups like Bird and Lime attracted hundreds of million of dollars from investors, Ford bought e-scooter startup Spin, but General Motors (GM) killed its electric bicycle plans last May, citing the coronavirus.
Find Aparna Narayanan on Twitter at @IBD_Aparna.
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